Wild by Emily Hughes: a delightful picture book about the wilderness in each of us and the determination of passionate souls

Emily Hughes, Wild

Published 2013 by Flying Eye Books, 32p


I bought Wild two years ago and since then I have read it tens of times; and every time it is a pleasure to contemplate the magical illustrations and to spend moments thinking of what life really means.  Emily Hughes is just amazing – in few words but using extremely detailed illustrations she makes you reevaluate the definition of existence and of the essential things that really matter in life.

The character is a cute, big-eyed, messy-haired girl who has been living in the forest since ever.


No one remembered how she came to the woods, but all knew it was right. The whole forest took her as their own. Bird taught her how to speak. Bear taught her how to eat. Fox taught her how to play.

A modern version of the classic characters Romulus and Remus, Tarzan and Mowgli, the girl becomes a symbol of the wilderness in people, an unsettled soul whose happiness is altered by civilisation. Part of the forest she becomes intensely distressed when she is found and taken to an apartment to be taught good manners.


A psychiatrist observes her, taking notes, while his partner tries to tame her. But

They did everything wrong!

the girl would think. With so many rules and restrictions she could not be free and happy. Young, determined, missing her real home, the wild child would return to the woods where she embraces her nakedness, her independence and her true self.


Because you cannot tame something so happily wild…

Complement Wild with Briony May Smith’s Imelda & the Goblin King and Sun-Mi Hwang’s The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, a tender story about dreams and the journeys we make in life to achieve happiness.


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